Showing posts from March, 2011

Reflections on I John for Lent

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.   I John 4:7-10 Throughout the season of Lent at our 12:30 mid-week Lenten prayer service we are meditating on the Epistle of I John.   Like many of the epistles in the New Testament, this letter was written to address a specific situation that had arisen within a specific community.   The community is believed to be the community that had risen up around the beloved disciple John.   By the time of the letter scholars believe John had died and the community was now struggling with division and conflict.   Specifically a serious conflict had arisen over the question of whether

Reflections on the Gospel - "Of Wells and Tents" - John 4:5-42

Read the Gospel text here: John 4:5-42 "Of Wells and Tents" - The Samaritan Woman at the Well - John 4:5-42 Within the first two weeks of Lent we have the opportunity to hear two wonderful stories from the Gospel of John and to meet two people with whom Jesus has an encounter early in his ministry.   Last week we heard the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus.   This week Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well.   The contrast between them could not be greater.   Nicodemus is very much an insider – he is a leader among the Pharisees, he is educated, he is established; he comes to Jesus at night to discuss Jesus’ teaching, which try as he might, he just cannot understand.   The unnamed Samaritan woman is very much an outsider – she is a Samaritan (Judeans like Nicodemus would have had nothing to do with Samaritans) and she was a woman; she was uneducated and she seems to be somewhat of an outcast from her own community.   She comes to the well

"God So Loved..." - A Sermon for Lent II A - John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life. This is perhaps one of the most well-known passages in the entire bible.   We have all heard it before – people put the reference on license plates, we have all seen folks on TV cameras at various sporting events with signs that read “John 3:16.”   Martin Luther called this passage “the Gospel in a nutshell.”   And indeed it is a profound and beautiful passage which confronts us with both a truth about God and a promise from God and that is this: the love that God has for God’s creation – the love which God has for us is so incomprehensible, so immense, so overwhelming, so inexplicable that even our language, our words are insufficient to describe and express the depth of God’s love of all of God’s creation and all of God’s children. For God so loved the world that….. God chose to be born in Jesus of a human mother, into a specific community, int

Reflection on the Texts for Lent I – "Theme and Variations"

Read the Gospel text here: St. Matthew 4:1-11 Read the Old Testament text here:  Genesis 2:15-3:7   THEME & VARIATIONS In the area of Music Appreciation one of the most important things you need to learn in order to be able to fully understand and appreciate the music of some of the great composers, such as Mozart and Beethoven, is form.   The form is the structure of a musical composition and there are several standard forms that were used by the great composers.   One of the most popular was a form called “Theme and Variations.”   This was a standard form and often the first assignment that a student composer was given was to take a particular tune and compose a set of variations on the tune.   The way it works is this: there is a tune or a melody that is usually somewhat familiar.   After the listeners are reminded of the tune then there follows a series of variations that usually get progressively more complex as they proceed.   But the rule is that there has t

Reflections on the Transfiguration Gospel – A Glimpse of Glory

Read the Gospel text here: Matthew 17:1-9        We have come to the end of the season of Epiphany and we are ready to enter into our Lenten journey, which will begin next week with Ash Wednesday.   During this season we have learned from our Gospel lessons about our calling to be open vessels of God’s love and grace; about our calling to be light and salt in the midst of the tasteless darkness of our world.   Today God gives us a Glimpse of Glory through the recounting of the events of the Transfiguration from Matthew 17, and through our own participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, through which we receive a Foretaste of the Feast to Come.             As we enter into this worship experience today I think it is important to understand the context for this text, which is Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem during which he repeats his Passion predictions on several occasions.   “Who do people say that I am,” Jesus asks the disciples.   “…John the Baptist, Elijah, a prophet…,”